Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Wet and Cole

Beanpot Thursday... Maybe. Postponed Holy Cross game? Postponed again. Makeup with Yale? Scheduled for Tuesday...

Meanwhile, the Crimson ran an interesting story today about Adam Cole, the onetime ace-in-waiting who simply couldn't throw a strike this season, and his recent positive steps in relief.
With Harvard up, 6-2, with two outs in the top of the ninth inning and the bases full of Tigers, Walsh took the ball away from sophomore Ryan Watson, and sent Cole to the mound to exorcise his control demons in a situation where control was of the utmost importance.

The move seemed questionable at first, after Cole walked the first batter he faced to bring the score to 6-3. But the second-year fireballer’s next trio of pitches erased any doubt. Power-hitting Princeton catcher Jack Murphy stepped up to the plate, and Cole reared back and retired Murphy on three consecutive strikes to begin his transformation into a closer.

“Things just weren’t the same as last year,” Cole says. “After Coach put me in to get the save I got a lot of confidence back in my head.”

Now, almost two weeks later, Cole has emerged as a force out of the bullpen, and an important piece in a Harvard pitching staff that leads the Ivies with a 3.99 combined ERA.
"Force" might be pushing it at this stage, but the signs are certainly encouraging. I wish they'd asked him a bit about what he felt was at the root of his control problems this year, but I'm glad to hear he's coming around. Not that Harvard's floundered without him.
“You can’t say enough about [Perlman and Eadington],” Cole says. “We had expectations when they came in but I think they’ve surpassed those.”

But with Cole back to form, one might think that he would be clamoring to get his rotation spot back. On the contrary, he seems to relish his new role and the pressure that comes with it, as well as the opportunity to throw his best stuff on every pitch.

“It’s exciting coming in when the game is on the line,” Cole says. “You’ve got to hold that lead. Not having to hold back and being able to pump hard strikes is really a relief to me.”
Just the same, I can't help but think that if we wind up playing four against Brown Saturday and Sunday and two more against Yale on Tuesday, Adam Cole would start one of those Yale games. I don't know who Yale's fifth and sixth starters would be, but I'd happily take that matchup.

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